Words: Taylor Boyd
Photos: Danny Kern
NAME: Jackson Fowler
NICKNAMES: Jacko, Flying Squid, Squidlizard
VEHICLE: '73 International Harvester 1210
It's tough to explain Jackson Fowler. In trying, maybe it's best to start with the fact that Jackson grew up as a skate rat living on a farm outside Boulder, Colorado. He's a soft-spoken free spirit with a blue-collar work ethic and a solid frontside grind. Perhaps Jackson was born too late; he might have been more comfortable spending his twenties during the '60s or '70s. But Jackson was born in 1994. And at 22 years old, his snowboarding is as much an anomaly as his personality.
Less a specialist than a jack of all trades, he filmed a proper street part as a teenager, has spent winters digging parks, puts down low times at banked slaloms, and pushes further into the backcountry each winter.
Comparisons could be drawn to his buddy Brandon Cocard, but Jackson's style is his own. His truck is a vessel that allows him to live life rent-free and on his terms. Right now it's parked in Truckee, California, where he plans to spend another winter. If you see this little dude and his big truck, say hello. Jackson will surely greet you with smile.
A four-wheel-drive International Harvester with a 392 V8, a five-speed transmission, and a 6.4-liter engine. The whole back end is a flatbed that I welded with a hydraulic dump kit on it. I got the call that I was needed for landscaping, so I souped it up even more, put a new Holly four-barrel carburetor on it, and did the brakes. I have hydraulic jacks that I lift the camper off with when I need the truck for work, then I just lower it back down when I'm done. You can just crank the thing off the bed a couple inches, then drive off.
I'm just avoiding paying rent at all costs and want to be able to be wherever I want to be. My general rule if I'm staying in a city is that I don't stay in one spot longer than two nights. I'll just move it around town and keep it out of the eyes of the law. Sometimes I'll park next to Donner Lake or close to the jobsite I'm working at, but for the most part I just stick around the downtown area of Truckee. I'd like to find a little piece of land next to a friend's house to park it for a while, where I could plug in.
I traded a go-kart I've had since I was a kid for a 1976 Ford F-250 Highboy. A week later I was at a shop getting a new drive shaft for the Ford, and next door was the International. I walked over and started to talk to this guy about it. He was like, "I like your Ford." And I was like, "I like your truck. Want to trade?" And he was down. Then he goes, "If you come work for me, I'll help you restore this thing." I needed work at the time, so I said, "Let's do it!" Every day we would just weld a bunch of stuff on it and get it super dialed in.
I wanted something I could fully stand up, walk around, and lounge in. I bought my camper that I have on it now—the Dreamer is its name—for 600 bucks. They pretty much give those campers away. I've been remodeling it, but it's a fully functional eight-foot hard-shell camper. The idea was just to be on the road and have something fully livable. When I got it the stove was leaking a little propane, and the refrigerator wasn't working, so I removed both. It opened up a huge amount of space. I just resealed the roof to make it completely waterproof.
Right now it just has a sink and electrical hook-ups. I have a battery that charges off the truck, so I have lights and a way to charge my phone. It's got a sink, so I'm able to wash my hands and do dishes, but other than that I just use a Coleman stove for cooking. I usually just take a bath in the lake. It's kind of just a gloried topper at the moment. And I've got a queen-size bed. It sits right over the cab of the truck. It's huge. The sleeping quarters in my camper are bigger than most truck beds.
Eventually I'm going to hook up solar power and make it efficient when it's just sitting there. I can park it next to whatever mountain is getting snow and either splitboard or hop on the lift from there. Then I can go back to my house and make lunch or dinner or whatever I need. It's a dream come true. This winter I might do one big snowboard trip in the International, but I have a smaller truck for long-distance travel. I'm just going to snowboard as much as I can, and do some snow-removal work on the side. I'm committed fully to snowboarding.